It’s been a really rough winter here at the Reeve house. Since the start of the season, I’ve had a nasty stomach bug, pinkeye (on Christmas Day for Pete’s sake!), a sinus infection, and an upper respiratory infection. Adam has had this horrible sounding cough since mid-December, and despite currently being on antibiotics for it he is more congested than ever. The baby had a mild bout with the stomach bug (I think I was exposed to it through her), and she has been teething like a fiend the past week–with 4am wake-up calls to match.

So a couple of weeks ago, I just wanted to make something comforting and homey for dinner. I had marked this recipe from the October 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living and never gotten around to making it. I’m so glad I finally did, it was perfect winter food. I made it with 4 bone-in, skin-on breasts instead of a whole broken down chicken. I also did NOT USE MUSHROOMS! Not in this house! Adam and I ate 2 of the breasts, and I had big plans to turn the remaining pieces and broth into an amazing, buttery chicken noodle soup. My biggest regret of January so far is the sinus infection and respiratory infection that set in that same week, making me too sick to cook and even think ahead to freeze the leftovers until I could use them. They went bad in the fridge. 🙁

I may make this again very soon just to carry out my plans for soup.

Chicken Fricassee (adapted from a Martha Stewart Living recipe–here’s the original)
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Season chicken on both sides with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Preheat a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the oil to pot. When butter melts and foam subsides, add half the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer; do not crowd pot (**I totally crowded the pot, I’m terrible about this–but it still worked fine!). (If butter begins to blacken, lower heat.)

Fry chicken, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total, and transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium, and add mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) to pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Saute mirepoix, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown in places, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, and cook until flour is absorbed by vegetables and is no longer visible, about 1 minute.

Add wine to pot, and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid just thickens, about 45 seconds. Add broth, and stir.

Place chicken, skin side up, in a single layer on vegetables; pour juices that have accumulated on plate into pot.

Tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine (I didn’t have any twine, I just had to fish them out afterwards–no big deal); add to pot.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially. Cook until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard herbs.

To make the liaison (sauce thickener, this was a brand-new technique for me), whisk together egg yolks and cream in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, pour 1/2 cup cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, into liaison to temper it.

Stir tempered liaison into pot. Finish with Tarragon, Lemon, and Butter Return chicken to pot. Add tarragon, lemon juice, and the remaining butter. Bring to a simmer, stir gently to combine, and serve. Feel instantly rescued from Seasonal Affective Disorder.